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When You Know The Subject

Patricia Sullivan

It's always hard to write about the death of someone you know, as Matt Schudel mentioned not too long ago. For me, the most recent example came yesterday, when a friend called to alert me that Fran Lewine died.

Fran, a congenitally cheerful soul, was one of the women who made possible the careers of most women in journalism, although few realize it. A superb reporter, an unselfish colleague and a woman who knew how to have fun, she was a fellow member of a journalism group that sacrifices a weekend of rest for hiking, shopping, camraderie and serious workshops.

At the end of typically manic weekend last September, Fran and I happened to be leaving at the same time. She said she was going to send me some information for her advance obit. I said sure, but I'd probably be gone before she would. The woman was 86, working fulltime for CNN, jetting off for much-delayed honors, slipping in a few games of chance when she found a casino in the vicinity... The time to put her notes to use came too soon. As anyone who knew her would have expected, those notes were flawless, accurate down to the last apostrophe and understated as to her achievements.

AP's Edie Lederer told me "She was a largely unsung pioneer for women in journalism and role model for myself and thousands of other women who tried to follow in her footsteps." Amen.

By Patricia Sullivan |  January 21, 2008; 11:34 AM ET  | Category:  Patricia Sullivan
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